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Old December 20, 2006, 11:22 PM   #1
springmom
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to bait, or not to bait? Special hunt question

Hey, y'all, I have a question Archerandshooter and I would like your insight on...

We both got drawn for a spike-and-antlerless hunt (plus all the hogs you can shoot) in a local state park for mid-January. This park is never hunted at any other time of the year, although it adjoins national forest land that is heavily pressured until about a week before the start of this hunt.

It is a 3-day noon-to-noon hunt where each hunter is in an assigned blind - no roaming. They DO allow baiting, though, and that brings me to our question: would you put out some kind of bait or other attractant, and if so, what would you use?

A few relevant (?) facts:
1. This is pine woods, and what acorns there are are long gone
2. Baiting of ANY kind is forbidden all year in the adjacent national forest
3. The rut is over (assumption on my part - if you know different, speak up)
4. There will be hunters scattered over all portions of the state park

We don't know whether, being unaccustomed to man-placed food sources, the deer would avoid it as new-and-therefore-suspicious, or whether, after a couple of freezes and the acorns gone, they'd come flocking to the new cafeteria of ready eats. Also, if we DO decide to put something out for them, we assume something they can smell and be drawn to is the way to go, since otherwise we'd just be depending on them to stumble across it, and if we're depending on that, we don't need the food, we can just shoot 'em when they wander into view.

Please, we're not interested (for this thread, at least) in a discussion of the broader question of baiting. This is a cull hunt, not a trophy hunt, and what we're really asking is for insight on the ** effectiveness ** of various attractant tactics you might suggest.

Also, notice I said "attactant", not "bait". If you think something other than food on the ground would work better in this situation, we'd love to hear about that, too.

Thanks, all. We appreciate the help, since the freezer still has room to fill.

Springmom
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Old December 20, 2006, 11:31 PM   #2
FirstFreedom
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Generally, yes

They're gonna be hungry, and cold (well, hmmm, it's not that cold down there, is it?). Still, they need food this time of year.

But, it depends on how long in advance you can put it down.

I would say, if you keep your scent completely off the feed (use rubber gloves to spread it), and can drop it at least 3-5 days prior so they have time to find it, then yes, I would bait.

If you get your scent on it some, but can drop it 5-8 days prior, then yes, I would also. The scent will disperse in a few days, and then they should start coming to it.

A salt lick will attract, espec. if it's near water. Corn is the universal attractant for good reason - it's high fat content makes it like "forest candy" for the ungulates. You might throw some molasses or buck jam on the corn & salt lick to try and jump start them on it.
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Old December 20, 2006, 11:34 PM   #3
springmom
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Unfortunately, there is no baiting ahead of time at all. You go out there at noon on day one, and either bait or not, and get into your stand and wait. It's a parks and wildlife sponsored cull hunt and it's unusal for them to allow baiting at ALL in the parks.

So would ANYTHING be worth putting down the day of the hunt? Is there anything that would by scent draw deer in (sort of the ungulant version of the smell of french fries?)

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Old December 20, 2006, 11:42 PM   #4
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Hmmmm, I dunno then. It wouldn't hurt, I suppose. But I think the chance of it helping are very slim. Yeah, I think the chance of something different scaring them would outweight the good it might do. Sorry, didn't read the OP closely enough. But then again, maybe by the 3rd day, it could work.....
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Old December 21, 2006, 12:26 AM   #5
rem33
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Never hunted your part of the country, but maybe bait would cause animals to stop where you can shoot more than one, instead of just passing thru?
Perhaps a talk with local hunters or rangers that are familiar with this hunt?
Be sure and let us all know how you do.
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Old December 21, 2006, 12:32 AM   #6
hoghunting
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springmom,

There is a product called Buck Grub that is a powder and you can mix it with corn. Buck Grub is an attractant and deer sure seem to go for the smell. It sure brings out the does and smaller bucks, but the big boys wait until after dark. We get Buck Grub at Academy Sports.
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Old December 21, 2006, 12:42 AM   #7
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Bait will stop them. It will allow you a better shot opportunity than if you didn't bait. If bait is allowed that is for a reason, and that is animal populations are too high for the habitat. Do everything you can to bring that population into balance, even if you use bait to do it and others condemn it. WE are the keepers of nature now, and we MUST use the most appropriate tools available to us to maintain a natural balance when nature cannot do this alone. IMO conservation includes some things not consistently viewed as sporting.

You want a naturally occuring sweet something. Apples are never bad, corn is never bad, salt/mineral licks are never bad. Personally I would want something that would be consumed naturally within a day or two or somthing I could remove when done hunting like a salt block. I wouldn't want my presence to last more than a day or two after leaving.
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Old December 21, 2006, 12:44 AM   #8
38splfan
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Baiting.

A never fail at home (TN) is corn. We'd take a 5 gal. bucket full of shucked kerneled corn (with broken cobs in the bucket) mixed with Caro syrup and spread it around the stand about 100 yards or so off. (Will want it closer if you are bowhunting, but I'm sure you already know that).

This is great for late season, because the corn is healthy and nutritious for the deer we didn't shoot, the Caro syrup doesn't harm deer at all, and the smell from the syrup can catch a deer's attention a long way off.

While this may seem unethical to some, my dad is the kind of guy who hunts to fill the freezer, not for trophies. This is done when they really need a deer to supplement the groceries or to freeze for spring/summer.

This works very well at home in the later part of season. I'm not sure if it will work as well for you, but hope it helps a bit.
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Old December 21, 2006, 12:47 AM   #9
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It's been a while since I hunted public land but under these circumstances I think you might be well served to scout for active trails or crossings right before the hunt and set up an elevated stand to watch them from if you have one. Don't ignore ones that seems too close to where you park and don't under estimate the potential to see something near that area in the middle of the day

If you can cover two or more traffic lanes from one place so much the better.

As far a bait goes it seems like it's a toss up. If there is private land nearby with feeders still up they will still be focused on those. If the criters in the area have been pressured heavily they may be feeding at night so they won't be out looking for food during the day. If all you have is corn you might want to add one of the apple based liquids to it once on the ground as the smell spreads and may help something zero in.

Frankly I think sign trumps bait under these conditions.

I hope you have great luck and let us all know either way how things went.

S-
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Old December 21, 2006, 01:16 AM   #10
Fat White Boy
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It is against the law to bait fields in California. But, I was on a business trip in the mountains outside of Wilcox, AZ. I was there looking at apple orchards but the workers had planted watermelons between the rows of apple trees. I have never seen so many deer in one place in my life and they turned their noses up at the Granny Smiths to eat those watermelons. ..True Story... There were also a sxxtload of Javelina, eating the melons...
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Old December 21, 2006, 09:50 AM   #11
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Re:fatwhiteboy

It is pretty much illegal to have fun in California!
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Old December 21, 2006, 10:43 AM   #12
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Texas deer have an uncanny sense of finding corn. I guess they can smell it. If you spread some around, they will come. Guaranteed!
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Old December 21, 2006, 12:39 PM   #13
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Thanks, everyone

Given all this, we probably will put out some sort of meal - maybe corn and corn syrup to broadcast it's presence to their hungry noses.

We'll definitely report back, and with pix.

I'm dreaming of a full freezer.
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Old December 21, 2006, 01:16 PM   #14
springmom
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Quote:
I'm dreaming of a full freezer.
(cue Bing Crosby)

....just like the one I used to DOE....

Thanks, y'all. Selfdfenz, we don't get to pick our hunting spots. This is an assigned blind thing. We can take bait and place it when we're taken out to our blinds, but scouting and setting up where WE want is not an option. This is to cull their herd. Shucks. Darn. Dadgum. We'll just have to take some deer and pig off their hands....

Sounds like corn and Caro is it. The only downside to Caro is if it's warm enough for the fire ants, because they will come like one of the plagues of Egypt if it's over 55 or so. Fire ants are from H***. Pure and simple.

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Old December 21, 2006, 01:21 PM   #15
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Get some apple corn that stuff has a strong smell and just poor some on the ground the hogs might find it before the deer though...
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Old December 21, 2006, 01:32 PM   #16
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I've had several hunters, this year, that told me they had almost immediate results, with rice meal. Easier than caro syrup and the bag isn't as heavy as corn to tote.

I tried some at the first of bow season, and results were fair, but not immediate. It took the deer overnight to find it.
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Old December 21, 2006, 02:11 PM   #17
john in jax
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Plain old feed corn

Check the yllow pages for a feed store or co-op, all you need are the inexpensive (50 lb) bags of feed corn.

Being a short hunt, and not knowing where/what blind you will be assigned I'd get two or three 50lb bags of feed corn and once you are assigned a blind lay long strings/trails of corn down your shooting lanes.

Not knowing the terrain it is hard to say exactly how much you'll need for maximum effectiveness, but a few 30 yard to 50 yard long trails of corn raidiating outward from your blind might get them to pause long enough for you to be able to pick & choose which animal to shoot.
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Old December 21, 2006, 02:42 PM   #18
Art Eatman
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I'd put out some corn, sprinkled along any trail to areas open to vision from the stand. Corn plus some chunks of apple in the open areas. If folks think rice is good, fine; add some of that to the mix.

FWIW, in the more souther parts of Texas, it's common for the larger and older bucks to be coming into rut, now. Commonly, it's the younguns and mid-sized bucks that rut before now.

For all that our mule deer season in west Texas is over, it's now through January that BigUn is on the move. The season is deliberately set early because of the overall relatively low population numbers.

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Old December 22, 2006, 10:43 AM   #19
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If you can find some Black Strap Molasses that works pretty good as well as it has a very strong oder to it. Make a couple piles of corn and pour some of the molasses on top and then wait for the fun to start.
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Old December 23, 2006, 06:07 PM   #20
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Springmom, Archerandshooter, I put in for TX draw hunts every year. I usually don't put in for doe or cull hunts. Are you drawn for East Texas?

If you are down by Jasper or up Nacodochez way, the rut will be over, yes, but CORN works year round. Buck Grub is good and may be faster to attract, but corn works overnight. Sour corn works overnight too but you may be getting hogs if you are going to where I think. Stay with just corn. If you put sweet sugary smells in the air, you will be on a hog hunt.
Corn will bring some hogs in too, but sugar will bring them in to stay.

Good luck and maybe I will see ya'll on some other TX WMA draw hunt.
So far I have been drawn to the following WMA

Mason Mountain,
San Angelo State Park
Richland Creek
Caddo National Grasslands
Travis County Ranch ( got the nature conservancy in Austin)
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Old December 23, 2006, 11:14 PM   #21
auburnboattail
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bait

I reside in a state that requires bait to be removed 10 days before season.
Seems if one can prebait or hunt over bait that is a real advantage
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Old January 13, 2007, 11:44 AM   #22
springmom
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Update

I did bait, with corn and Caro Syrup. The spike buck I took was nibbling at it when I shot him. Moral of the story: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch....

However, a side note: Texas Parks and Wildlife DID pre-bait for this hunt, for a month. Those guys did a great job of setting things up. I didn't want this thread to just hang out there in cyberspace without that point clarified, because the "no prebaiting" thing ended up not being an issue.

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